State gives final approval for high-voltage power line

27.04.2015, 1:44

Wisconsin regulators have given final approval to a $580 million high-voltage power line that will run between Madison and La Crosse.

The Public Service Commission approved the 180-mile line on Thursday. American Transmission Co. and Xcel Energy next month plan to begin negotiations with homeowners along the route.

The utilities say the 345,000-volt line will give the state a more robust electrical system as coal plants are retired, provide savings to Wisconsin customers and make it easier to import wind energy from Iowa and Minnesota.

But critics question whether the project is needed given that electricity sales have been flat in recent years.

Opponents of the project were expected to challenge in court the PSC's approval of the power line.

Construction is slated to begin in about a year.